January 17, 2020
By Caity Witucki
Contributing Editor, Fraud Friday
Fraud Friday– Former Trustmark Bank Loan Officer Defrauds Bank of Nearly $400,000
Former Trustmark Bank loan officer, Robert A. Whartenby, was sentenced on December 23, 2019 in federal court for one count of information related to bank fraud. Whartenby will serve 18 months in prison followed by two years of supervision under the United States Probation Office. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $351,927.
According to U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant’s office, Whartenby misused his position as a loan officer at Trustmark Bank’s main office in Memphis, Tennessee to defraud the bank of nearly $400,000. In September, Whartenby admitted to submitting falsified paperwork in support of loans to Memphis Designs Group, LLC and Windridge Investments, fictitious companies he had created. The loan proceeds were then disbursed to accounts at Bank of America which Whartenby had opened in the names of the fictitious entities.
“The financial fraud committed by this defendant is disturbing,” says U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant. “The abuse of his position of trust and authority as a bank loan officer for his own personal gain had a significant negative impact on the shareholders, employees and customers of Trustmark Bank. The U.S. Attorney’s Office places a high priority on protecting the security and integrity of transactions, deposits and assets of financial institutions, and this case demonstrates that commitment.”
In addition to serving 18 months in federal prison and paying restitution, Whartenby was ordered to provide full financial disclosure, prohibited from ever opening additional lines of credit, and will be subjected to mental health testing and treatment. Since he entered a plea deal and cooperated with the investigation, Justice Sheryl H. Lipman recommended that the Defendant be incarcerated as close to Memphis, Tennessee as possible to be near to family. The court has advised Whartenby of his appeal rights.